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'The Beulah Show' was the first TV series to feature an African American woman in the lead role. This episode is called "The Waltz". The show starred Hattie McDaniel. It's commonly believed that most episodes of this show were destroyed. The show was controversial for claims of "racial stereotyping", though to be honest, I could think of plenty of shows that did the same thing years later without complaint.
This movie is part of the collection: Classic TV
Audio/Visual: Sound, Black and White
Keywords: Classic TV; African American; Controversial; Maid; Retro; 50's; 1950's; Fifties;
Creative Commons license: Public Domain
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Subject: The Waltz (Beulah).
Season 3, episode 3.
Original air date: 5 August 1952.
Cast: Hattie McDaniel (Beulah), Ernest Whitman (Bill Jackson), David Bruce (Harry Henderson), Ruby Dandridge (Oriole), Jane Frazee (Alice Henderson), Stuffy Singer (Donnie Henderson), Sherry Anne Atkins, Iva Belle Clark, Emory Parnell and Anne O`Neal (Miss Matilda).
Good interpretation, good writing but very bad directing; big deception.
Subject: i dont like the name beulah
so i feel sry 4 that woman
pauls son -
Subject: Hattie McDaniel
Hattie herself said it best. When she was critized for always playing a servent she has been widely quoted as saying, "Hell, I'd rather PLAY a maid than BE one" That being said, this show was OK and a step forward for African-Americans. It's just a shame the scripts weren't a little better. Maybe the radio version was better. Hattie starred in that much longer than the TV version because of her illness. There were 3 TV Beulahs but Hattie was the best.
Subject: glad to have seen it
In a racist society, ALL representations are racist because that is how people think about each other. However, some shows are more advanced for their time and this is one of them.
You could say exactly the same thing about representations in a sexist society. Or an ageist society. Or any other bigotry that is endemic. Some entertainments pander to the worst elements and others try to break new ground for equality. While we recognize the problems we can also applaud those who try to point out another way.
Subject: Another point of view
It's a shame that most of these episodes were destroyed. I understand why some would view them as racist because roles as maids, etc were the norm in Hollywood for Black people then and raised some very disturbing images. But the content of this show was not really racist IMO. Beulah was smart. Her boyfriend wasn't lazy. And Oscar winner Hattie McDaniel broke the mold of a stereotypical subservient maid. In NONE of her many roles (yes, she was relegated to playing maids for her career, which in itself was racist), in movies and TV, was she EVER subservient. Not only did she break that stereotype, she was talented enough to convince the heads of the studios to let her play her characters that way, which was very radical in Hollywood at the time. Yes, she was a maid but there is no shame in being a maid, people. So was Hazel, played by the very talented white actress Shirely Booth. It's honest work. So I don't think we can judge this series by standards of today; it was what it was. BTW, for the record, I am a very proud Black woman.
If this is racist, doesn't that mean that today's TV is racist since arabs only ever play terrorists and poor people?
Subject: Is it racist?
The show by itself is not racist.
What is racist is the fact that Hollywood would not create or distribute any other images of Black women other than maids, servants, etc. who BTW were always overweight and "jolly" during the time (1950s) when this show was produced and broadcast.
Subject: THIS IS RACIST
This is racist in the very CONCEPT, not what the show says within. WHY is she, the show lead, not the home owner and the white as the maid? Because we all know that blacks were not given roles like that.
WHO is the race that is blocking that? WHO is the race that would reject the very IDEA of the black being the homeowner and the white as the maid?
THAT is why the show is racist. NOT due to the content, but because servants to whites is ALL we could play, and directors (all of them white due to racism) would cast us as.
Subject: THIS IS NOT RACIST!!!
Really, This beats most shows on Network TV today!
More fun than a knife!!
Seriously, Cute little sitcom here, perhaps there are some stereotypes but I wouldn't call it "racist" at all.
Subject: Not racist at all
Anybody who says this is racist is an idiot. This is a quality TV series from the 50's.